Song Title: Not Over You
Artist: Gavin DeGraw
Age at time of Song Memory : 20
Current Age: 21
Song Memory: “If you ask me how I’m doing I would say I’m doing just fine” but in reality I wasn’t. That morning, I said goodbye to my father after spending the previous fifteen hours with him. I gave him a kiss on the forehead as he lay in the hospital bed. It was 7:33 a.m when I walked out the large, oak, bedroom door, took the shiny elevator from the second floor, downstairs to the ground level, told the balding security guard have a good day and stepped foot outside on February 17th. The air was brisk, I could see my breath but the sun was shining. I remember it clearly because my face was warmed while I was sitting in the driver’s seat. I drove home in silence, no radio, just my own mind and breathing. I parked the car in my driveway and sat there for a minute or two. I was running on thirty minutes of sleep but could not even think of closing my eyes.
I walked in my house and I sat at my kitchen table with my mother as she made the phone calls. “Bree, can you grab the phone book?” Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. By noon we were off, my mother, sister and I drove to the funeral home where we had to pick out the prayer card saying, #420, the coffin, a dark red oak with white lining, the last supper on the center and other arrangements. I remember grabbing a handful of the white wrapped mints on my way out, sticking them all in my pocket. Each one read “Yorktown Funeral Home” in green print. One thirty rolls around and we drive to Rose Hill Cemetery. Up and down the hills we drive with Michelle, a worker at the cemetery in her little beat up black car. Even though she was worried about how dirty it was, we told her to not worry we had more important things on our mind. My sister and I sat in the back seat staring out the windows not wanting to be there.
But, to tell you the truth, it was a beautiful piece of land. We would drive to a spot, get out and walk around. Would I want to be buried here? I asked myself. No, this is not the right spot. We would get back in the car drive to a new spot. “This one is too flat”, “this one has no view”, “these stones aren’t even in English” I kept coming up with excuses. I popped the mint in my mouth, I chewed it, it melted into little pieces until it was finally dissolved. We got back in the car. We drove to the mausoleum. “These ones are anywhere from 10,000-20,000 dollars, the higher up you are the cheaper because he would be closer to God” the worker said. “Closer to God I thought, bull shit he can go in the ground for that much”. I was bitter the pains were welling up, but I kept joking. I wouldn’t cry. I couldn’t cry. Nothing was real. Right below the mausoleum we looked, there was a plot, there was some land and a beautiful view. It was breathtaking. I stood in front of the rock wall next to a dark stone memorial bench, I was in awe. “This is it.” “Well it does cost an extra thousand for the view basically to be buried up here”. I believed he deserved it, all of us did. Nothing needed to be said, the decision was made. We got back in the car. We drove down the winding roads. I saw a bright yellow sign warning drivers of deer and wild turkey crossings. Crosses made out of flowers were all along the grass, mounds of fresh dirt were all around signaling a recent burial. I thought, soon that will be what my father’s resting place will look like.
We keep driving.
The 9/11 memorial for those who lost their lives followed by a tunnel of trees, with no leaves upon them lining the road. We park, walk into the office and sit down. It is a big conference room with 12 chairs all around and footstones hanging on the walls. “Planning the stone is too much for us today” my mother says. “Not a problem you can always come back”. The plans were made or at least enough for the upcoming Tuesday. The check was written and handed over. The three of us walk out the door into the sunlight. The sun was still as bright as when I left the hospital that morning. I climb into the back seat, the cold leather seat felt so much colder than it did earlier. My heart was feeling empty and my mind was racing. My hand reached in my pocket, the engine revs. The radio goes on, the mint goes in my mouth. I taste the freshness, the seat is warming up, the middle of the song is playing. “If you ask me how I’m doing I would say I’m doing just fine, I would lie and say that you’re not on my mind…” I just thought to myself a better line could not have come on the radio at that moment. My father was the only thing on my mind at that moment and I was lying about it through my jokes and refusal to talk about my feelings. Dad you were and always are on my mind. And every single time I hear these words, nothing comes to mind but you. This day is and forever will be embedded in my mind and each time this song plays it will always be about you.